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Simple Mobile Article #2 - HeroMachu Picchu is only one of the many stunning sites you should visit while traveling in Latin America. (photo-Getty)

There’s something heartwarming about summertime travel. Perhaps it’s the nostalgic feeling of being off from school or simply the welcome vitamin D boost after a cold, long winter. Whatever it is, planning a summer vacation is perfect for taking a break from your daily routine.

But even when you’re trying to get away from it all, staying connected to family and friends is a priority for most travelers. That’s why having a wireless service plan from SIMPLE MOBILE is a travel essential. All SIMPLE MOBILE service plans allow you to use your plan’s talk, text, & data while roaming across 16 Latin American countries — so yes, you can even post about your trip online with international roaming coverage in these countries.

And this part of the world is a fantastic option when planning your next trip because plane tickets are relatively inexpensive and flight times aren’t too long. Here are the countries you should definitely consider visiting.

Simple Mobile Article #2 - Mexico

This hidden beach in Mexico is only accessible via tunnel.Getty

1. Mexico

Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, and it’s home to a number of incredible sights. A visit to the hidden beach on Islas Marietas is great for a secluded day trip getaway. And getting there is half the fun: You have to swim through a short tunnel carved by the sea and into a crater to reach the beach. If you’re a history buff, you can visit the third-largest pyramid in the world. Known as the Pyramid of the Sun, it’s a relic of the Teotihuacan civilization with picturesque views from its summit. You can also enjoy a trip to The Arch, an impressive rock formation located at the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas. Grab a bottle of vino, hit the beach, and watch the sunset shine off the rocks on this natural wonder.

Simple Mobile Article #2 - Peru
The Rainbow Mountains in Peru get their signature coloring from erosion.Getty

2. Peru

Machu Picchu is probably one of Peru’s most famous destinations, but the country is filled with a long list of extraordinary places to visit. Located in the Andes, the Rainbow Mountains are an Instagram-worthy colorful mountainside— and with SIMPLE MOBILE roaming coverage, you won’t have to wait until you’re back in the U.S. to post it to your account. The peaks’ signature look has been formed by sedimentary mineral layers exposed by erosion. To take your adventuring to the next level, visit Huacachina and do a dune buggy or sandboarding tour. The expansive desert landscape will make you feel like you’re on another planet. There’s also an aerial tour of the Nazca Lines, ancient geoglyphs that were believed to have been created by the Nazca culture between 500 BC and 500 AD. Due to their isolation on a dry, windless, stable plateau, they’ve been naturally preserved for thousands of years and are predicted to stay intact for years to come.

Simple Mobile Article #2 - DR

Get a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite films by visiting Los Tres Ojos in the Dominican Republic.Getty

3. Dominican Republic

If traveling to a Caribbean island is more your style, the Dominican Republic is a great option to check out this summer. For a tranquil yet thrilling adventure, you should definitely visit the 27 Charcos, a series of natural waterfalls that you can climb, jump, and swim in, with the support of a travel guide. If you love to hike, make sure a trip to Cordillera Central is on your itinerary. It’s the highest mountain range in the Dominican Republic and in all of the West Indies, so pack layers to stay warm once you get to the top. Then there’s Los Tres Ojos, the perfect place to discover an expansive world below the DR surface. This 50-yard open air limestone cave also doubles as a famous film production location, having been featured in movies like “Tarzan” and “Jurassic Park.”

Simple Mobile Article #2 - Costa Rica

The Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica remains steadily active to this day. Getty

4. Costa Rica

With a total width of 200 miles from coast to coast, the tropical climate and proximity to the ocean makes Costa Rica another fantastic travel option in Latin America. Though the summer months make up the country’s wet season, July through early August usually marks a short mid-year, mini-dry season, making this the perfect window of time for your visit. Tortuguero, or the Land of Turtles, is the only village in Costa Rica without cars. It’s a great way to experience the country’s diverse rainforest wildlife while floating through an intricate canal system. The Arenal Volcano is great for when you want to squeeze in a little learning with your adventuring. While it’s been relatively dormant since 2010, it’s still an incredible sight to explore, especially by going on one of Mistico Park’s hanging bridge tours. Be sure to bring a camera with you to get stunning shots of the tropical birds and foliage along the way.

http://www.businessinsider.com/south-american-central-american-countries-to-visit

Sunday, December 3rd, the moon will seem larger and brighter than it has all year.  A “super moon” apparently happens when the moon is full and is at the same time the closest to the Earth during its orbit so it seems brighter than usual.

The Super Moon will be here on December 3rd and is also call a “Full Cold Moon” as it is  the first full moon of December or winter. It should shine approximately 16 percent brighter and 7 percent larger than normal, according to National Geographic. Then we will have a full moon on January 2 and then again on January 31. So we will have a BLUE moon in January. A BLUE moon is when a full moon occurs twice in the same month, which is pretty rare. Usually, we have 12 full months per year but 2018 will have 14 full moons-the other will be March 31st. How cool is that?

Astronomers say that the best time to see the Super moon is in the early evening just as the moon is rising and in the early morning as it is setting. You can guess when I will be looking at the Super Moon.

 

Other moons have special names that have been around for thousands of years, each name reflects what time of year it is:

January is Wolf Moon is named after the sound of hungry wolves. Native Americans and medieval Europeans would recognize their howls as a sign of midwinter. So January 3rd will be a Wolf Super Moon & January 31st will be a Blue Super Moon. Awesome!

February is the Snow Moon. Obvious.  

April is the Pink Moon.  Northern Native Americans called it this because of the early blooming wildflowers. Nice.

September is the Harvest Moon-traditional time for gathering of crops.

November is the Beaver Moon. Algonquin tribes set beaver traps for the winter fur supply & keeping warm.

Happy Holidays, however you celebrate!

Below is a list of some of the various holiday events going on in December 2017 throughout Tampa and Ibor City.

From movies in the park to Twilight 5k runs,

from boat parades to Chanukah festival fun,

a lot of good things for everyone!

 

Holiday Happenings

dunedin

The name of this small town, located on the west coastal of central Florida comes from Dùn Èideann, which is the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh-the capital of Scotland.

Dunedin is one of the few towns or cities that still has open waterfront views to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. Its beaches, including Dunedin Causeway, Honeymoon Island, and Caladesi Island State Park, are consistently rated among the best beaches in the world. Dunedin is located between Clearwater, the Gulf of Mexico and by Palm Harbor. And yet it is close to Tampa, St Petersburg and Tampa International Airport. A very nice location. Small town feel with worldly connections.

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In the 1800’s Scottish families originally settled in the area. In 1852 two Scotsmen by the names of J.O. Douglas and James Sumerville, called the area Dunedin after their hometown in Scotland-Edinburgh. Once upon a time Dunedin was one of Florida’s main ports with the largest fleet of sailing ships in the state.

Once a year, usually in April,  the Dunedin Highland Games are held with competitions including caber tossing, sheep herding, stone throwing & pipe and drum bands. There is also the DUNEDIN CELTIC MUSIC & CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL, usually held in November.

Dunedin has been the training site for every Blue Jays Spring Training season for the last 40 YEARS. This makes Toronto the only major league franchise to have remained in the same location for all of its spring training.

If you want to know about Dunedin, Florida, you might want to watch this short video produced by St Pete-Clearwater. It is a great overview of city of Dunedin, the Pinellas Trail, Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island State Park.

What: The National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Annual Conference and Expo
When: November 4-7, 2016
Where: Orange County Convention Center West, Orlando FL

Network with Realtors from across the USA and from around the world. Learn about the latest products, technologies and legal issues. Take classes. Be aware of the latest scams-protect yourself and your clients. Join in on meetings. Find out about the best marketing tools. What do buyers and sellers want these days in a home and in their agent? See what benefits NAR has for its members. Expand your mind and have fun!

Hope to see you there!

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Dunedin is such a delightful little town and has so much going for it. Dunedin has beautiful beaches, parks, a marina that allows daily as well as long term rentals, many street fairs & festivals throughout the year, Honeymoon Island state park, water sports to baseball, loves dogs and definitely supports the arts. You can celebrate your Celtic heritage even if it’s not in your DNA. Here are just a few things to do in Dunedin this weekend. Enjoy!!

For more info go to: http://visitdunedinfl.com/

FALL HARVEST: RECEPTION

Saturday, October 22, 2016 1:00pm

The Plainsmen Gallery, 2141 MAIN ST., DUNEDIN, Florida

An exhibition of western, wildlife and Florida art by local and national artists, including members of the Cowboy Artists of America. Watch artist Terry Smith’s painting demonstration, enter to win a limited edition print, and enjoy champagne and light appetizers. Free.

CRAFT BEER AND CRAB FESTIVAL

Saturday, October 22, 2016 2:00pm and Sunday, October 23 12pm

Edgewater Park, 51 MAIN ST., DUNEDIN

Bring chairs and blankets to the waterfront park for Olde Bay Cafe’s family festival highlighting local seafood, craft beers and crab dishes with live music by the Caroline Kole. Benefits Helping People Help Themselves.. Free (food/drink additional).

DUNEDIN HALLOWEEN HAPPENING

Saturday, October 22, 2016 5:30pm

Highlander Park, 1920 PINEHURST ROAD, DUNEDIN

The haunted fun includes “Boo in the Zoo” trick-or-treat house for preschoolers, carnival games, bounce houses, DJ music, haunted hayride, arts and crafts and age appropriate costume contests. $10 wristband; $5 hayride.

SPIES AND BLACK TIES

Saturday, October 22, 2016 7:00pm

Conmy Center, 750 SAN SALVADOR DRIVE, DUNEDIN

Dress as your favorite spy or villain for a night of food and entertainment. Benefits Religious Community Services to assist the hungry, homeless and domestic violence survivors. $125.

FOOD AS ART WORKSHOP

Sunday, October 23, 2016 2:00pm

Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 MICHIGAN BLVD., DUNEDIN

Casual class explores a variety of food topics. $45, $35 members.

 

American flag

The election is on November 8th. Most of us can’t wait-there really is more happening in the world than just the USA’s election. In many states the deadline to register is 30 days before the election. Please check your state’s requirement & get out there to vote.  Below is the link for each states requirements & a place to check to see if you are indeed registered.

Let’s vote!! In some countries people risk their lives to vote or travel for days to vote. In the USA, it is your right & it’s easy to vote. So as Nike says, Just DO It!!

Voter Registration Deadlines for the General Election by State

https://www.usa.gov/voter-registration-deadlines

 

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Le Louvre photo by Annalisa Weller, 2009

 

The following museums were found on several lists as the most visited in 2015 around the world. I was quite surprised to find out that I have visited 7 of the 10. My travels have not brought me to Asia yet so that removes Numbers 2, 8 & 10 for me. Better get to work on that! My daughter just returned from China so “we” could use the familial visits to check off  another one on the list-not really.

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National Gallery of Art, photo by Annalisa Weller, 2015

 

I would, however, like to add the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., which opened in 1937. As I a child I was lucky to live close to DC & so we visited it quite often. Last year while in Washington, DC for business, I spent the afternoon in the National Gallery of Art with my family. As I turned the corners, I would get a glimpse of some of my favorite works of art & felt like I was seeing dear old friends-Renoir, Monet, Manet, Degas, Cassatt, Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh, Fragonard, da Vinci and more. They make me so happy & speak to my soul. Another wonderful museum is the Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg, Florida which houses the largest collection of Dali’s works outside of Spain. Not only are the paintings & sculptures fascinating but so is the building. Stanford University in Palo Alto, California has a wonderful collection of Rodin sculptures in a garden setting that is definitely worth checking out.

So get out there and appreciate the beautiful things in life! Tell me which are your favorites.

1. The Louvre in Paris

8.7 million visitors in 2015.

2. The National Museum of China in Beijing

7.3 million visitors in 2015.

3. National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

6.9 million visitors in 2015.

4. National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

6.9 million visitors in 2015.

5. British Museum in London

6.8 million visitors in 2015.

6. Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

6.3 million visitors in 2015.

7. Vatican Museum

6 million visitors in 2015.

8. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

5.9 million visitors in 2015.

9. National Gallery in London

5.9 million visitors in 2015.

10. National Palace Museum in Taiwan

5.3 million visitors in 2015.

 

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See what’s happening in St Petersburg, Florida’s Old Northeast neighborhood and downtown St Pete by checking out the latest issues of the St. Petersburg’s Northeast Journal . There are articles on local events, people, history, real estate, the arts, restaurants and much more. The journal is bi-monthly and has been published since 2004.

http://northeastjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/NEJ-Jan-Feb-2016-WEB.pdf

http://northeastjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/NEJ-Nov-Dec-2015-WEB.pdf

One of my favorite holiday things to do is to watch the lighted boat parades. When I lived in Annapolis, Maryland we usually needed to bundle up in heavy coats, scarves, gloves & hats and we NEEDED hot chocolate or hot toddies to keep our insides warm. We would also grill a favorite Chesapeake Bay treat- oysters on the half shell. It would take hours for us to thaw out afterwards but, oh, it was so worth it. I have to admit, however, that it didn’t take me long to adapt to the warmer viewing weather here in St Petersburg, Florida. It is very nice to be able to wear my holiday flip-flops while watching the boats parade by. The light displays can be a bit different here-Santa in hammock under 2 palm trees, flamingoes pulling Santa’s sleigh, palm trees instead of the traditional pine trees and Santa in a Hawaiian shirt & sunglasses. You get the idea. There are still some of the traditional light displays like angels blowing trumpets, three wise men and Rudolph. I absolutely love how creative and beautiful the boats look.

Here are some of the boat parades being held here in the St Petersburg, Florida area this December. Please check each the website for each community for the parade routes & any changes.

And don’t forget the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show is this weekend.  The 38th Annual St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, the largest boat show on the Gulf Coast, is set to sail into the Duke Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg, Fla., from Thursday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. The show will feature an impressive selection of power boats and sailboats in water and on land, including a 40,000-square-foot clearspan tent housing all types of marine gear. www.showmanagement.com  St Pete Rotator 2014

St. Pete Beach Boat Parade is on Friday, December 4, 2015 at 6:00pm. The boat parade starts at 6 p.m. at the Blind Pass Bridge and heads south to the Bayway Bridge.

Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade and Tree Lighting-Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 6:00pm. Decorated boats will travel south down the Intracoastal Waterway to the Dunedin Marina. Santa arrives on the last boat to light the city’s large Christmas tree in Edgewater Park.

Gulfport Lighted Christmas Boat Parade-Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 6:00pm. Members of the Boca Ciega Yacht Club decorate their sail and power boats for this 30th annual holiday water parade. Best viewing spots include: Osgood Point, Gulfport Municipal Marina, Williams Pier, along Gulfport Beach, Town Shores, Pelican Bay, Kipps Colony, Pasadena Yacht and Country Club and Isla del Sol.

St. Pete Illuminated Boat Parade-Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 6:00pm. Twinkling boats of all makes and sizes parade along the downtown waterfront area. Plenty of viewing spaces are available along the Vinoy Basin sea wall, at Demens Landing and on the Pier approach.

Island Estates Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade,Clearwater-Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 6:30pm. For the 41st year, decorated boats assemble in Mandalay Channel and head to Coachman Park, under the Memorial Causeway Bridge and to the Clearwater Yacht Club’s judging stand. Prizes awarded for best decorated boats.

Madeira Beach Holiday Boat Parade-Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 6:30pm. Gates open at 4 p.m. with family-friendly activities. Bring something to sit on and enjoy live music before decorated boats leave John’s Pass at 6:30 p.m.and pass through the Intracoastal Waterway and canals before ending at the park. Fireworks light up the sky after the boat parade, about 10 p.m.

Treasure Island Lighted Boat Parade-Saturday, December 19, 2015 at 6:00pm. More than 40 decorated boats participate in this annual “Las Vegas on Water” themed parade. Starts at The Club, goes through the Treasure Island Bridge into Boca Ciega Bay and follows the coast line to end at John’s Pass.

Redington Beach-Indian Shores Lighted Boat Parade-Sunday,  December 20, 2015 at 6:00pm. This year’s parade starts on the north side of the Tom Stuart Causeway and ends at the Pub restaurant for an awards ceremony and party.

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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